Staying with John in Bequia, I got to meet his friends Paul and Cathy who was running a tour company called Island Time Bequia where they had a sailboat with Capitain Irwin for rent. They had a trip scheduled for the next day and invited me to come along when I told them that I was heading South. A better oportunity I think I have hardly come accross- the place was absolutely stunning!
We had a smooth sail at about four hours going not much more than five knots before we reached the Keyes. We had our lunch sandwiches watching lots of turtles swim by before we got into the water with our snorkeling gear to join them. The water was crystal clear and although this area was full of sailboats, the five islands that make up the Tobago Keys were quite empty with clean beaches and clear water.
John and the rest had planned to spend the night in a small and quiet island called Mayreau whereas I had an arrangement of meeting a Danish friend over at Union Island so they dropped me off at Mayreau to look for boats there. I didnt have to spend more than an hour at Sailine Bay, which had a long, completely empty beach, before a school boat came which said I could get a ride over to Union Island.
Sailine Bay in Mayreau where you can catch rides to the rest of the Grenadines.
I arrived in busy Kingstown, St Vincent early morning and jumped straight on the ferry to Bequia (pronounced Backway) which by the way was an old Norwegian ferry where all the information, even emergency information still was writen in Norwegian. Once I was in Bequia I was overwhelmed by the change of pace.
I soon realized that this place was something I had been looking for all along. It had the right amount of development, it was accessible enough from the capital, it was not too busy with its 5000 inhabitants and it was affordable enough compared to other Grenadines like Mystique where only celebs and hedgefund managers where living. People all greeted me, no matter if they were locals, retired westerners who had moved there or tourists. There were both cheap local and fine restaurants to dine in and it things seemed to get done even though it was a slow pace of life.
I got to camp in the garden of a retired Irishman called John a couple of nights and spent the days relaxing on the beautiful beaches near Port Elizabeth called Princess Margaret Beach and Lower Bay. After having visited 148 countries this is the first time that I have said that this was a place I could easily retire.
St. Lucia might be the island so far that has lakked the most character. It is a nature heaven with beaches, cliff and mountains but is all to developed. It was the only place in the Caribbean where I have seen big malls with american shoes such as radioshack and Massy Megastore. And if you wanted to see any of the sights, it seemed like the most popular way was by day tours that might include zip living, riding a safari jeep or similar.
St. Lucia could as well have become the most boring country I had visited in the Caribbean if it wasnt for a local guy that I met who offered me to string up my hammock in his backyard. He was a real rastafarian artist who was living in a tent inside his own house which was on the edge of a cliff. He shared his rum and view of life as a rastafarian with me. Normally I would go to bed not long after sunset here in the Caribbean, but here we ended up talking a lot of the night away about everything from politics to the meaning of life.
Another thing that St. Lucia was famous for was the Caribbeans only drive in Volcano. As I didnt have a car I took a bus to the city of Soufriere and walked the last kilometers into the gates. I paid ten bucks for a five minute tour at the viewpoint where one could see boiling mud which was not really worth it, especially when I found out that the whole city of Soufriere is already inside the volcano and that the volcano never had any eruption of lava. Mud bathing in the volcano was fun though!
Barbados seems to be the place to go if you want a purely enjoyful holiday somewhere in the Caribbean. Its got azure waters, white sandy beaches, the litteracy rate is as high as 98 percent and everything simply works! Even though it seems to have reaped well of wealthy European visitors, the place has its charm and locals are welcoming and friendly. Buses run like in the rest of the Caribbean where they go when full, but here the standard seemed to be a bit better for them than the ones I have been riding in Dominica the last days.
The last days in Dominica without showers, electricity etc have been quite rough so it was good to spend a night in a suite at Accra Beach Resort where I had a king bed, excellent meals and my own jacuzzi in the room. It was too big for me so I invited some people from the beach for a bath and which was a great way of getting to know locals.
The area around also had all kinds of shops to buy in stuff that I found out that I needed and all kinds of restaurants like an all vegan place and Acke Tree which served “doubles” a indian/caribbean dish which consisted of two round tortillas that were rolles around curry sauce with chickpeas, potatoes and such.
Swimming in Brownies Beach looking for turtles I also found some shipwrecks and walking around Carlisle Bay in the capital Bridgetown by sunset was a pleasant experience.
Doing laundry, sowing and relaxing by the pool at Accra Hotel has made ready for another few rough weeks camping in the caribbean.
Watch this on my vlog, episode 6 here
When I first got to Dominica I was shocked to see how much the hurricane Maria had destroyed just two months earlier. I was camping in the garden of a local guy, who like most of Dominicans, did not yet have power. His son said that he wished to get the power back for christmas, but when talking to the father it seemed like it was more likely to take a few more months. We cooked our meals on a bonfire in the garden and I shared my torch with them as they didnt have anything other than the light from his old Nokia cell phone.
I had emailed the tourism board and found out that all tourist attractions was closed down, but I still went to see them and found out that with some climbing over heaps of trees everywhere you could see them completely by yourself and completely for free as there were noone working there.
I visited the hot springs in Wotten Waven, Trafalgar Falls, champagne reef in Soufriere and Emerald Pool outside of Roseau. Buses were cheap and frequent and when there was no bus running it was no problem catching a lift from bypassers. People I met here have been very friendly and the country seems like it has the coolest tourists attractions of all the countries in the Caribbean. It was just a pity that it was completely devastated, so I will have to give it another visit in a few years when all is back to normal.
Watch this on my vlog, episode 5 here.